Dollar ticks up slightly in uncertain forex environment

Denise Jackson

The US dollar managed to make some modest gains in the foreign exchange markets on Monday, though risk sentiment appeared to still be the main thing on the agenda for traders.

The dollar index, which is a way for traders to compare the performance of the greenback compared to several other important global currencies, was up a little to 96.770 at one stage.

However, there was still doom and gloom on the cards for the currency.

The Japanese yen, which had gone down against the dollar in recent days, was up in its pair against the greenback.

The dollar dipped against the Japanese yen by 0.7% – it reached 108.82 at one stage.

The greenback also plummeted in its pair against a second global safe haven, the Swiss franc.

There, it was down by just over half a percentage point at 0.9567.

More broadly, the yen’s rise contributed to the mixed and distinctive picture seen in the global forex markets over the day.

Risk sentiment appears to be rising given the supposed end of the lockdowns associated with the coronavirus pandemic, and traditionally risk-on currencies continued to rise on Monday.

However, the yen is known for being a safe-haven currency that normally rises during times of tumult in the markets – meaning that there were mixed signals emerging from the markets.

In terms of riskier currencies, the New Zealand dollar was up to its best position in almost four months.

It was spotted up by half a percentage point against its US counterpart at one later stage, reaching $0.6526.

This followed a recent record point it reached earlier in the day of $0.6540.

This may, however, have had more to do with domestic affairs in that country.

It announced on Monday that it had got a full grip on the coronavirus pandemic and that it had succeeded in preventing all spread of the disease.

This development led the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, to say that the government would remove all of the measures it had put in place to prevent the spread – with the notable exception of border controls.

However, rises were also seen in a number of other major global risk-on currencies – as well as those that are heavily influenced by global commodity prices.

These included the Australian dollar and also the Canadian dollar.

Elsewhere around the world, the single European currency was up against the greenback.

This was something of a surprise to some traders after a release from Germany showed that industrial output there went down by the largest amount ever recorded in April of this year.

However, traders at ATFX and other online brokers saw the euro surging by a fifth of a percentage point against the dollar, reaching $1.1306 at one stage.

The currency markets are now beginning to focus on an announcement from the US Federal Reserve about what steps, if any, will be taken in terms of monetary policy.

The Fed is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the matter.

There did not appear to be a consensus as yet as to what the outcome might be.

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